Series of talks to examine importance of public lands

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To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is working with Powell Valley Community Education, Northwest College, public land agencies, and public land experts to host a speaker series and panel discussion.

The focus of the series is the importance of public lands. Each month, starting in January, a public lands expert will present information on different aspects of public lands. The series will culminate in a panel discussion in April. Expert panelists will present their thoughts about the history of, importance, and future of public lands. The hope is these programs will inspire open discussion of public lands, bring to light some issues and benefits of public lands and inspire an appreciation for Wyoming’s public lands.

Here’s a list of the upcoming talks, all of which will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Bighorn Canyon Visitor Center in Lovell, Wyoming.

Jan. 16: Brooks Jordan, Wyoming State Parks district manager, will discuss Wyoming State Parks, the renewed effort to promote recreation in the state, and his perspective on why public lands are important.

Feb. 20: Matthew Kauffman, with the U.S. Geological Survey, will discuss the Wyoming Migration Project and how public lands are essential to the movement of wildlife in Wyoming.

March 19: Douglas Smith, senior wildlife biologist at Yellowstone National Park, will discuss the importance of public land to wolves, elk, birds, and other wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

April 9: The speaker series will end with a panel discussion. Facilitator David Peck, editor of the Lovell Chronicle, will be asking the panelists questions. The panelists will include:

John Clayton, a Montana-based nonfiction writer, independent journalist, essayist, historian, and business ghostwriter. 

Jeremy Johnston, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, whose Ph.D. dissertation considered Buffalo Bill’s and Theodore Roosevelt’s thoughts and actions in developing the Big Horn Basin, as well as their efforts to preserve sections of the Yellowstone region.

Shane Doyle, an enrolled member of the Crow Tribe from Crow Agency. Doyle has a Master’s degree in Native American Studies at Montana State University. He also holds a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction, and completed a post-doctoral appointment in genetics with the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2016.

For additional information about this program go to the Powell Valley Community Education website at or contact Christy Fleming, chief of interpretation at Bighorn Canyon, at 307-548-5402.

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